Saturday's doubleheader between the Hardaway Golden Hawks and Northside Patriots did little to settle who is the top team in Region 1-AAAAA when the squads split their twinbill at Hardaway.
Hardaway (14-3, 6-2) took Game 1, 4-1, while Northside (10-5, 7-1) took the nightcap by an identical 4-1 score. Northside came into the day with a one-game lead over the Golden Hawks in the region standings and left with their lead still at one game. Harris County (8-1) has a half-game lead over Northside.
"After we lost the first game, we just wanted to respond the right way," said Northside head coach David Smart. "I'm proud of how we came back. We got after it and that's what we do."
In the first game, Hardaway used two singles, a throwing error and a run-scoring groundout to plate two runs in the bottom of the first inning to go up 2-0 on the Patriots. In the second, the Golden Hawks scored two more runs on four hits to build a 4-0 advantage after just two innings. Hardaway had eight hits in the first thee frames and finished with nine hits for the game.
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"We helped (Hardaway), but they swung the bats well," said Smart. "(Northside starter Chase Slocumb) settled in after the first few innings, but we couldn't punch one in when we needed it."
Armed with a 4-0 lead, Hardaway's Cedric Brown was very efficient on the mound, throwing a two-hitter and allowing one unearned run with three strikeouts and one walk.
"Cedric's been phenomenal all year long for us," said Hardaway coach Chris Gilstrap. "When he's out there, we know what to expect. We feel like if we can get two or three runs, he's going to keep us right there with them."
Northside's lone run came in the fourth, when the Patriots loaded the bases with one out. However, Brown induced a sacrifice fly and another pop-up to escape the jam having only allowed one run.
Josh Anthony was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored, Sheridan Coy went 2-for-3 with a double and a run and Will Griggs finished up 2-for-3 for Hardaway in Game 1. Handley Boyd was 1-for-1 with a run scored for Northside. Slocumb took the loss for the Patriots, giving up four runs -- two earned -- on eight hits in six innings of work.
The nightcap was a mirror image of Game 1. Hardaway made an error in each of the first two innings, allowing Northside to score two runs in the top of the first and second frames and build an early 4-1 lead. The starting pitchers -- Rob Shayne for Northside and Trevon Dorsey for Hardaway -- took things from there. Shayne gave up just two hits over his last six innings and Dorsey allowed only one hit over his last five innings.
"(Shayne) threw well and we made plays behind him," said Smart. "We were able to score early and took advantage of what Hardaway gave us."
Gilstrap wasn't displeased with Dorsey's effort. The sophomore gave up four runs -- just one of which was earned -- on five hits with seven strikeouts and a walk in seven innings.
"Trevon is a guy that takes a while to get started," said Gilstrap. "Once he settles in, he's good. The key to the second game was the extra outs we gave them and those always hurt you. But you have to give (Shayne) credit. He threw a great game and kept us off balance."
Shayne threw a three-hitter, allowing one earned run with four strikeouts and no walks in seven innings on the hill. He helped his own cause with a hit and two runs scored. Chad Pigg finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and Cam Scott wound up 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs for the Patriots.
Griggs was 2-for-3 with a double and Anthony had a hit and scored a run for the Golden Hawks in the loss.
Northside is back in action Tuesday. The Patriots travel to West Laurens for a 5:30 p.m. non-region game. Hardaway is off until Friday, when the Golden Hawks host Thomas County Central in a region doubleheader that gets under way at noon.Saturday at Hardaway
Northside 000 100 0 --1 2 1
Hardaway 220 000 X --4 9 2
WP--Cedric Brown. LP--Chase Slocumb. Leading hitters--Northside: Handley Boyd 1-for-1, run, Hardaway: Josh Anthony 2-for-3, 2 RBI, run, Sheridan Coy 2-for-3, 2B, run, Will Griggs 2-for-3, Blake Rupp 1-for-3, run.
Northside 220 000 0--4 5 0
Hardaway 100 000 0--1 3 3
WP--Rob Shayne. LP--Trevon Dorsey. Leading hitters--Northside: Chad Pigg 2-for-4, RBI, Cam Scott 2-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI, Rob Shayne 1-for-4, 2 runs, Hardaway: Josh Anthony 1-for-4, run, Will Griggs 2-for-3, 2B.
Records: Northside 10-5, 7-1 Region 1-AAAAA, Hardaway 14-3, 6-2. Next: Northside at West Laurens Tuesday at 5:30 p.m., Thomas County Central at Hardaway (DH), Friday at noon.